TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to
prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in sexual
orientation change efforts with a patient under the age of eighteen
This bill would prohibit a mental health professional, as defined,
from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts, as defined, with a
patient under 18 years of age. The bill would provide that any sexual
orientation change efforts attempted on a patient under 18 years of
age by a mental health professional shall be considered unprofessional
conduct and shall subject the provider to discipline by the provider's
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
This bill adds a new Section 6509-d to the Education Law regulating
Section 1 defines certain terms and provides that the license,
registration or certificate of a mental health professional shall be
revoked, suspended or annulled, or such professional shall be subject
to discipline by the provider's licensing entity, if such mental
health professional engages in sexual orientation change efforts upon
any patient under the age of eighteen years old.
Section 2 establishes the effective date of this law as the first of
January next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.
Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is not a disease, disorder, illness,
deficiency, or shortcoming. The major professional associations of
mental health practitioners and researchers in the United States have
recognized this fact for nearly 40 years.
The American Psychological Association convened a Task Force on
Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation in 2009 which
concluded that sexual orientation change efforts can pose critical
health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people ranging from
confusion and depression, to substance abuse and suicide. In response
to these findings, the Association issued a resolution, which stated
that portraying homosexuality as a mental illness should instead give
way to psychotherapy, social support, and educational services.
The American School Counselor Associations, the American Academy of
Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers, the American
Counseling Association Governing Council, the American Psychoanalytic
Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
and the Pan American Health Organization have all concluded that the
risks of reparative therapy are too great. These dangerous treatments
that attempt to address depression, anxiety and self-destructive
behavior may only serve to reinforce self-hatred.
While much has been published on this topic, an article by Caitlin
Ryan et al. entitled "Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative
Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young
Adults" states well in its conclusion that minors who experience
family rejection based on their sexual orientation face especially
serious health risks. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who
reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4
times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more
likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to
use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged
in unprotected sexual intercourse compared with peers from families
that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
In these harmful procedures, the possibility that the person might
achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay
man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to
dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.
New York has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and
psychological well being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgender youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure
to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
The first of January next succeeding the date on which it shall have
become a law.
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